On the 14th of December I flew to New York. And to get there, I needed to get to the Orlando airport, which is like: 3 buses away from Sarasota. On the first one a guy was smoking weed right next to me. Greyhound. America is very weird when you come from a country that knows what public transport is. Then I needed to walk from the Orlando greyhound station to the next bus stop, and I ended up in quite an unsafe area.
The whole vibe was weird. Someone shouted something at me but I just kept going. I was wearing my favourite jacket with a big hood, because it makes me look scary rather than like a victim. Also when people can’t see your face the don’t really know how to approach you. Though then I actually did get stopped like twice, but just good people asking if I was fine. I was moving very slowly with my three suitcases that I kicked at every now and then, so I guess that makes sense. Someone told me they were working at the scrapyard right there, so if something happened I could just scream. Great.
So, anyway, I made it to my next bus stop and met this guy who was also waiting for the bus. He passed my “not-creepy” test which means he didn’t try to fill all the silences. If you can both go back to looking at your phones a few times without the other person asking stupid questions it makes me feel better, because it makes me feel like I can leave the conversation if I want to.
This guy was also leaving the area to get somewhere safer. He was young, pretty put together. He said he was a drifter, but that he didn’t quite know what he was doing anymore. After one of the silences he hesitated and shook his head at himself, but finally said that he sometimes just wanted to give up. The kind of person who used to want so much, and knows there is so much, but doesn’t know exactly what that is or means. And all of a sudden it’s slipped through your fingers.
We took the bus together. Met a random man from England who was very chatty and I just nodded, pretending to understand the heavy accent. We started talking to the random girl next to us as well. We talked about what a random meeting it was, just four strangers in a bus. Then we made it to the main station and went our separate ways.
I took the final bus to the airport where I slept overnight and flew to New York the next day.
This story doesn’t really have a point. Or maybe this: How can you save people? I just want to be better at helping, I wanted to say exactly what that guy at the bus stop needed to hear, but I felt like I just got too chatty with my advice. I should have let him talk more. If nothing else because I’m curious now. And also this: I like the people you meet while moving, but I love in some sad way the people who are also moving. And it’s nice meeting them on multicoloured streets under black nights. I wish I could do something for them and us. What if you had a place where the travellers could just come and stay for a bit, for free somehow or to really connect and put their stuff down for a while. Something.
And lastly this: I just hope he finds the right people, good people, to surround himself with. I think he’s looking for streets to sleep on and it could end so badly or it could end well. I wish home upon all of us. In all of us: safety.